Fighting for Minnesota’s Rural Communities

The Minnesota Rural 2020 Steering Committee will focus on policies that have caused record farm bankruptcies, plummeting farm prices, lower demand for Minnesota’s most important commodities, reduced access to health care and fewer jobs in rural areas.

Members of the Minnesota steering committee come from across the state and represent a diverse cross-section of experience and expertise.

“Our committee will focus on the many policies President Trump has championed that have failed rural Minnesotans. Our goal is to cut through the misinformation and inform rural Minnesotans on the administration’s policies that have had a devastating ripple effect across the state.”

Dave Frederickson, Chair of the Minnesota steering committee member

Members of the Minnesota steering committee come from across the state and represent a diverse cross-section of experience and expertise.

Dave Frederickson – Dave served as Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture from 2011 until 2019. He also served in the Minnesota State Senate for six years and is a past President of the Minnesota Farmers Union and National Farmers Union. He is a recognized statewide leader on agriculture and rural policy. He and his wife live in Roseville, Minnesota.

Kent Kanten – Kent is a fourth generation farmer from Milan, MN.  With his parents Chuck and Ann he drove a 4010 John Deere tractor to Washington, DC in 1979 with the American Ag Movement. He served on the Minnesota state FSA committee for the Clinton and Obama administration. Today, along with his two sons he continues to grow corn and help run a custom manure spreading business on their century old family farm. He and his wife of 38 years moved off the farm in 2016 when their youngest son took over. Kent still enjoys going to the farm every day and seeing the 6th generation, his grandkids, grow up on the farm.

Colleen Landkamer – Colleen has an enormous passion and energy for county government. She has brought the concerns of counties to the national stage since her involvement in forming the National Association of Counties Rural Action Caucus (RAC) in 1998. Landkamer’s enthusiasm for RAC helped take it from an organization of 20 members to several hundred. In 2006 and 2007, Landkamer served as President of the National Association of Counties (NACo) and has also served on NACo’s executive board since 2002. Landkamer is a past president of the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC). Colleen was first elected to the Blue Earth County Board of Commissioners in 1988. After 21 years of service, she then served as USDA Rural Development State Director in 2009. Following her eight-year appointment and almost 10 years away from serving on the Blue Earth County Board, Landkamer was re-elected to the board in 2019. In southern Minnesota, Landkamer represents a district located within the county seat of Mankato.

Susan Stokes – Susan has worked to support thriving and healthy rural communities for the past two decades. As executive director of Farmers’ Legal Action Group, she advocated for equitable laws and policies for farmers across our region, and launched the organization’s outreach to immigrant and historically underserved farmers and their communities. As assistant commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, she oversaw innovative public-private partnerships that supported farmers, soil health, and clean water. Susan has been a frequent speaker on important legal issues facing farmers, including farm succession planning and farmland access for beginning farmers. 

Grant Herfindahl – Grant is a 4th generation farmer from Benson, Minnesota.  He attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls, the University of Oslo, Norway and graduated from the University of Minnesota, Morris with a degree in Social Science and education. He did graduate work at New England College in Public Policy. Throughout the years he was elected County Chair of the Democratic Farmer Labor party, County President of the Farmers Union and chaired the Farmers Union state resolutions committee as well as serving as Chair of the local county ASCS board and served on various church and hospital boards and foundations. While farming and agriculture have always been his passion, public service has also been a huge part of his life, he has served as the Clerk of Benson Township for over 40 years and as  a County Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Executive Director (CED)  and was appointed as the Minnesota State FSA Director (SED).

Jim Nichols –  Jim has farmed all his life and currently grows 500 acres of corn, soybeans and a small amount of oats or wheat.  In 2016 he had the highest corn yield in Minnesota. I have farmed all of my life and am still farming although I could retire. Jim served two terms as a Minnesota State Senator and two terms as a Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture. Jim also organized three farmer-owned ethanol co-ops and served as project manager to build those three large ethanol plants. Jim graduated from the University of Minnesota – Morris and served 4 years as a High School Teacher. Jim is also a Vietnam Veteran.